Fasting for weight loss is all the rage these days, but unlike other fad diets, this method has been around for thousands of years. All major religions promote fasting as a way to clear your mind and cleanse your body.
Whether you’re doing a prolonged fast of 3 to 7 days or daily intermittent fasting, it’s important to know what foods are best for your body during or after your fast. Breaking a fast with junk food or even sugary fruit can ruin all the progress you’ve made. Keep reading to learn what foods you should be eating while fasting.
Fasting for Autophagy
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, take some pressure off your digestive system, and gain more clarity of mind. However, if you’re trying to attain autophagy for medical purposes, a more prolonged fast is suggested.
Autophagy is a process that your body unlocks when one has fasted for longer than 72 hours. Once your body has burned through all the carbohydrates you’ve eaten and lowered your glycogen levels, your body goes into what is called “deep ketosis”.
At this point, your body begins using stored fat for energy and will even cycle through old, low-functioning cells and proteins. This can lead to the removal of cancerous cells, fat in the liver, and many other cells that can lead to diseases.
The health benefits of autophagy are just recently being seriously studied, but throughout history, those who ate less and even went without food had fewer chronic diseases and chronic pain and lived longer on average.
While fasting for autophagy has wonderful health benefits, some people can’t always fit a 7 day fast into their busy schedule, especially if they already have underlying health issues.
For those who need sustenance daily, an alternative method is called intermittent fasting. This means you allow yourself an eating window of 6-8 hours per day, and you then fast until the next day. A popular schedule is 16:8, 16 hours fasting, and 8 hours eating.
On this schedule, you won’t achieve autophagy. However, it still has amazing health benefits and can prevent chronic diseases from forming over time.
Breaking Your Fast
No matter which fasting regimen you choose, there are specific rules you must follow in order to optimize your results. One of these rules is to make sure you’re breaking your fast with the best food possible.
If you’re fasting for autophagy, our digestive system has been in hibernation for the past week. If you’re intermittent fasting, your body has been in light ketosis for the past 12-16 hours. Either way, the nutrients you consume during your eating windows are incredibly important.
What to Eat During Your Fast 100w
Can you chew gum while fasting? It depends on the gum. Anything that contains sugar will break your fast, kicking your body out of ketosis. If you opt for sugar-free gum, make sure it doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners. This can defeat the purpose of the term “sugar-free”.
The only things that you can consume that won’t break you fast are the following:
- Coffee: It might relieve you to know that you don’t have to give up coffee during your fast. In fact, research has shown that a small amount of black coffee can actually improve your fast by speeding up your metabolism. Just don’t add that cream and sugar.
- Tea: Just like coffee, any type of tea is not only harmless during your fast but can also improve your results. Green tea can speed up your metabolism, while peppermint tea can calm your rumbling stomach.
- Water: It goes without saying that water is incredibly important for your fast. It’s important to stay hydrated at all times so you don’t experience fatigue. If you find yourself having acid reflux or extremely low energy, add some salt to your next glass of water. Sodium is very important for keeping your energy high, and water fasts can sometimes deplete the body.
Foods to Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During your eating windows, it’s incredibly important to give your body the nutrients it needs to last through your next fast. Some of these foods include the following:
Seafood and Fish
Fish and seafood are great for your eating window because of all the available vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Furthermore, the sheer variety of seafood means you’ll never run out of new recipes to try.
Over the years, potatoes have been vilified as a fattening food. This is largely due to the popularity of French fries and potato chips. However, potatoes that are steamed or roasted are loaded with potassium and will keep you full longer.
Cruciferous Vegetables and Leafy Greens
As children, we shuddered at the thought of eating our broccoli. However, as adults, hopefully, we’ve learned to love all those green vegetables that are full of vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are also packed with tons of fiber, which will aid digestion and fight cravings by keeping you satisfied longer.
Another major ingredient to focus on during your eating window is protein. While lean meats are great for this, another important source is eggs. An egg contains 6 whole grams of protein along with nutrients and good cholesterol.
If you can’t meal-prep while fasting without being tempted, hard-boiled eggs are the perfect solution. If you boil them in batches, they can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Eating fruit is a great way to get energy, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals. However, some fruits may actually hinder your fasting goals rather than help. Fruits higher in natural sugar, like mangos and pineapples, can spike your glucose and increase cravings. However, fruits with lower sugar content, like strawberries, blueberries, and bananas, are a great alternative for getting plenty of nutrients and fiber.